Little girl struggles with obstacles that come along with CMV

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Three-year-old Katy Howard is just like any toddler. She loves to play.

But Howard was born with Cytomegalovirus, also known as CMV.

"You get if from other humans that are infected. It's excreted in saliva, respiratory secretion, urine and stool. And it's very, very contagious," said Doctor George Fidone of Lufkin Children's Clinic.

It's not harmful for most.

"Most people by the time they've reached their third decade of life in their 20s, have probably been exposed to CMV unknowingly," said Fidone.

Symptoms are generally mild.

"Which is very unlike a newborn or an unborn baby who is infected while in utero, particularly early on in utero. That's when the most damage is done."

Which was the case for Howard.

"She had a large liver, a large spleen, and her bone marrow was clearly affected in that her counts were very, very low, abnormally low."

Howard's mother never knew she had CMV, until it was too late. But the family was ready to do whatever it took to help their baby.

"You just start doing research and you ask questions, and you have to fight for your kids," said Katy's mother, Brandi Howard.

There was hope for Howard from the start.

"She was born with the capability eventually of being able to sit, to stand, but she required a tremendous amount of input from a lot of helpers."

Howard got hearing implants, and began to show signs of progress.

"From her prognosis, I'd say she's partially a miracle baby. I mean we have done everything, that we could know to do to try to help her. The good Lord gave her a personality that she was willing to fight."

And live the most normal life possible, running, rolling and laughing like any other three-year-old.

©2009 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.